In what has got to be the most active thirty-six hours in club history, Ed Wade apparently has struck a deal with the New York Yankees that will result in Lance Berkman wearing pinstripes. Just about every news outlet has received confirmation that the deal pretty much done, but cannot be finalized until a twenty-four cooling period passes due to Berkman's 10-5 rights.
I have to be honest and say that I am surprised that the Puma is going to be traded. I give Ed Wade kudos for apparently being tireless; I have just been writing about the trades he is making and I'm exhausted. I am also a little leery to see what happens in the deal. With no one receiving any indication of what the deal will consist of, my fear is that the Yankees are basically buying Berkman from the Astros and giving them scraps in return.
Since I just got finished extolling the virtures of rebuilding and shedding salary, this might sound odd. But there is a marked difference between getting younger and cheaper and dumping salary. If Berkman and the remaining $5.6 million he owed go to the Yankees, I fear that our return will not be worth the salary dumped. My fear is not based on having heard any of the specifics or even having thought through what might be offered in return. Rather, it's based on the dismal returns we have seen for players with money left on their contracts recently. I suppose, though, that the salary dump would be accompanied with Brett Wallace getting two full months of MLB experience, that is not an added enough bonus in my mind's eye.
My one measure of solace is that the Yankees have reportedly spent the day trying to acquire Adam Dunn and are attempting to box the Rays out of acquiring a legitimate DH, too. The Yankees being the Yankees, they are perhaps the only team in baseball that could hardly break a sweat taking on $5.6 million and giving up a decent prospect/player in return. So perhaps Ed Wade will once again to be crazy like a fox in receive something worthwhile in return for the Puma and his contract.
We have at most twenty-two more hours to speculate on the trade and reflect on Berkman's career. As someone who considers Lance to my favorite baseball player of my lifetime (blasphemous, I know), I have to say that I will be happy for him. Being traded to the Yankees allows him to fulfill his childhood dream of being like Mickey Mantle and could generate a lot of positive exposure for him as enters free agency for the first time. The other exciting possibility, of course, is that Roy Oswalt might have to pitch against Lance Berkman in a World Series game (at which point this blog's mixed emotions will cause a tear in space/time fabric resulting in a blackhole that will the swallow the Earth whole).
So, for the next twenty-hours let's have the prospect mavens start drumming up some names for us to salivate over. The line for possibly thinking about considering being excited about the trade is to the left and the line for those who want to burn MMP to the ground because Oswalt and Berkman will be traded away within a 48 period is to the right.
McTaggart has some great quotes from Berkman reflecting on leaving Houston:
"I'm a little nervous, a little apprehensive about this whole thing," Berkman said. "I'm from Texas. Heck, I played at Rice. This city is like the womb. I feel comfortable here and to think about the possibility of going anywhere else is kind of scary.
"My ideal situation is to win a title here. If this organization feels those aims are better
accomplished by trying to strip down this roster and reload with some younger guys, I don't want to stay in the way of that."
"I never thought I would be in this position, never had to go through it," he said. "It's unsettling because you just don't know what's going to happen and there's all sorts of possibilities. I guess in one sense it's good because there's teams that want me to play for them, particularly in a down season."
I share this only because Berkman's departure has more far more sentimental than Oswalt's. In this one, I am definitely searching for catharsis.